NTL is planning to launch what it claims to be the fastest consumer broadband service in the country.
It plans to upgrade the minimum broadband connection speed on all its standard packages to 10Mb per second by the end of 2006. The improved connection speed, capable of downloading a music track in three seconds, will be at no extra charge to NTL’s 1.4 million broadband customers in the UK.
The first NTL customers to benefit from the upgrade will be existing 3Mbps broadband subscribers, who will have the new speeds by the end of this year, says NTL chief executive Simon Duffy. Usage allowance will increase from 30Gb to 75Gb per month. Existing 2Mb and 1Mb customers, will follow suit. The roll-out is likely to be backed by regional press, direct marketing and online advertising.
NTL’s decision follows a heating-up of activity in the broadband market: Cable & Wireless subsidiary Bulldog recently announced it was doubling the speed of its basic service to 8Mb, with a starter package for &£15.50 a month.
NTL claims a standard 10Mb service will also encourage advertising agencies and client marketers to make far more use of the internet, and to make much more complex advertising for it, including television-style ads. Duffy says: “Our broadband services will become among the most innovative in the world and certainly well ahead of anything else in the UK. This is a major step towards delivering the UK’s digital future.”
The new product strategy creates a set of “up to 10Mbps as standard” cable broadband products, with different bandwidth options to match usage, plus a series of unlimited products at different speeds. NTL says customers will be able to match speed, usage allowance and price to their individual needs.
Ahead of the roll-out, customers will be offered a taste of the higher speeds through a pilot of NTL’s new flexible bandwidth technology. Customers can hit a “turbo button” to increase download speeds when they need to, for example when downloading image-rich presentations.
NTL also says it will be offering even higher speed connections in the future. It claims it can offer broadband speeds of between 30Mbps and 50Mbps through its fibre-rich networks. A trial is underway in Chorleywood delivering speeds of up to 20Mbps to a school, small business and several homes.